The Argus at KellyGang 18/6/1881
"A Constant Reader”, who is fortunate enough to be able to enjoy life as a resident in the "Kelly country," writes for the purpose of freeing that interesting district from the bad reputation which - he says unjustly-attaches to it. His soul is vexed by the depreciation which has taken place of late in the value of property in the neighbourhood so long infested by the outlaws, owing to rumours which have been set afloat concerning the probability of another outbreak. He attributes the origination of the idea to the Police Commission inquiry, but he says "no one, except the police, believes that there is any likelihood of a second Kelly gang ” arising. This is very gratifying intelligence, of course, as is also the assurance that though the Kelly family and then friends are a "bad lot," the great majority of the residents "are respectable law abiding people." Altogether, the picture drawn is charming. So far from the inhabitants of the district going about in fear of their lives, they have been living at ease, none making "them afraid." "As a matter of fact, says our correspondent, "the Kelly depredations were in distant places. They did not let their neighbours. I have lived through the whole time the gang was at large near some hills they were said to frequent. Neither I nor my neighbours ever saw one of them, nor did they cause us any anxiety, or steal any of our property." Now, this is curious.
While we in town were given to under stand, that a regular reign of terror existed in the "Kelly country," nothing was to be seen, according to this account, but rural contentment, felicity, and peace. We fear, however, that the well meant effort to which we axe referring will not do much towards improving the value of landed property in the vicinity, as one of the statements made is so questionable as to cast doubt on the value of the predic tion that no further rising will take place. "A Constant Reader" says that the residents in the Kelly country are respectable, law abiding people, but if this is the case, how was it that four ruffians were able to live amongst them for months, during which time the outlaws were almost openly supplied with the necessaries of life by numerous sympathisers? Respectable law abiding men are supposed to come at all times to the assistance of the authorities in their conflicts with crime, not to shut their eyes and fold their hands simply because their belongings are untouched. We are afraid that the duties of citizenship are somewhat misunderstood in the "Kelly country”
THE POLICE COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15
Present - Messrs Longmore (in the chair), Graves, Hall, Anderson, Gibb, Levey, Dixon.
Mr O'Connor put in certain correspondence with regard to his appointment.
C C Rawlins , cross-examinned by Mr O'Connor, said that at Glenrowan he suggested to Mr Hare that he should go to the station-house and obtain information about the out-laws. Witness was unarmed, and Mr Hare gave him a revolver. They went down to the railway and the stationmaster's wife told them of the Kellys being in Jones' hotel, and said that there were about 40 of them. Witness went with Mr Hare to Jones's. Mr Hare led the way, followed by Constable Gascoigne, witness, and Senior- constable Kelly. They were within 10 paces of the hotel before a shot was fired. It was in this position that Mr Hare must have received the first shot. Fire opened up afterwards on all sides. When Mr Hare was wounded he told witness that he was wounded, and asked him to take his gun. Witness was close to Mr Hare when he was wounded, but could not say whether he loaded again.
Witness's impression was that Mr Hare did not load again, and that he could not, as his wound was so severe. Heard Mr Hare tell Mr O'Connor to surround the house. Did not see Mr O'Connor, but heard his voice coming as if from the gully near the railway gate. Could not swear where Mr O'Connor was. Accompanied Mr Hare to the railway carriage. Witness subsequently returned to Mr Hare, who asked to be sent down to Benalla, saying, "Get an engine, get anything; send me down to Benalla." Witness induced the engine-driver to take him down. Was at Glenrowan to the end. Saw Mr, O'Connor twice before the priaonors came out, and frequently after. Remembered seeing him with Mr Sadleir just before they came out. Mr O'Connor was about with Mr Sadleir all day. Was present at the burning of the house. (Witness described Constable Johnston's action.)
Witness heard several people cry out, "Cease firing, and heard Mr O'Connor say, "Let the women out," an saw him bail up the man who was carrying out the wounded boy Jones. O'Connor told him to see that none of the Kellys were coming out. (Witness referred to Edward Kelly's departure from the hotel, and subsequent incidents. )
To the Commission – After Mr Hare left did not hear Mr O'Connor give orders. Senior-constable Kelly took position as an officer. Witness understood that Mr O'Connor was a volunteer, but did not know positively. There could be no doubt in witness' mind that Mr Hare's retirement from Glenrowan was caused by his injuries. It was not the result of cowardice. He could not have ridden to Benalla as he spoke of doing. Witness would not think of getting a horse for Mr Hare, as he could not have ridden. Mr Hare seemed completely knocked up, and might have been mystified. Witness desired particularly to say that the statement that there was indiscriminate fire into the building after the order was given to cease firing was not correct. There were some shots fired, but they were fired high. Saw Kelly fall. He fell up-hill against a log, and his helmet rolled off. He was shot. Sergeant Steele took away the revolver. Steele had hold of his hand. Dowsett was there, but witness did not see him take the revolver. Steele challenged Kelly, and fired two shots at him. Saw no cowardice among the police, but considered that they behaved well.
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